Adventures In A-EYE: An eyewear campaign with AI-generated models

Washington DC-based design agency Design Army has created a new sci-fi-inspired campaign for a local optician, dubbed Adventures In A-EYE.

While most of us are already sick to death of hearing about everything AI – and there's far from been a dearth of creative projects exploring the possibilities of ChatGPT et al., Design Army seems pretty excited about this "new trend in visual creation," as Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer and co-founder. She says that Design Army embraced AI "to see if it can be utilised just like any other design tool, and we were surprised by the result".

Georgetown Optician has been run by the same family for over 40 years and approached Design Army to create a campaign to promote its new store opening. According to the agency, there was a "crazy-short deadline to launch," but it viewed that limitation as an opportunity to be really creative. "It opened us to new ideas – how else can we create a super imaginative, powerful campaign?" Says Lefebure. "That's how we initially conceived the A-EYE-meets AI concept – because it's fast – allowing us to create a campaign in just one month (vs previous campaigns taking six-plus months for scouting, direction, shooting, editing, colour-grading, music, and beyond).

Georgetown Optician is known for its pioneering approach to oculist science and trendy glasses frames. As such, the new social campaign for the company is inspired by sci-fi movies centred on a fictional planet populated by eyeball-shaped aliens (naturally, the star of the show's name is Eyelien).

Adventures In A-EYE marks Design Army's first foray into AI, which was used to create the 'talent', their wardrobes, and the scenery of the campaign. Real people from the agency were responsible for the typography, copy, animation, and sound design; the eyewear featured in the campaign was, of course, very real, showing off Georgetown's Spring 2023 collection.

"Adventures In A-EYE is inspired by the endless quest to see something wholly new – the mind and the eyes must travel!" Lefebure explains. "With that vision, we invented a bizarro story about travellers visiting a planet to no man's land. The Eyeliens are creatures on the planet. But to live on this land rife with harsh environmental conditions, you must wear glasses to protect the eye. And, of course, all the characters have cheeky 'Eye' related names."

The agency describes the campaign's aesthetic and typography as taking both retro and futuristic reference points: "We wanted to bring a sense of romance to the story – travelling into the future that feels like the past. With that in mind, we were inspired to mix past and present to create a surrealist, retro-future mashup," says Design Army, citing everything from 1950s classic movie posters to the early days of Web 1.0 "and even the 1990s". There's a nod to the future in the "pastel fuchsia" colour used throughout, which is apparently a big trend for 2024, according to Design Army.

Design Army plans to continue using the AI concept for the brand in future, changing up the Georgetown Options campaign seasonally while retaining a semblance of continuing the sci-fi storyline.

"It's refreshing when you try something new and totally naive to an alternative process. It forces you to think differently. Being curious and uncomfortable pushed us to take more risks. Risk can lead to innovation," says Lefebure.

"Moving forward," she adds, "AI is going to be the must-have new design tool – for sure. With its super-fast speed of generating ideas, people who work with AI will have a creative advantage. That said, I don't think AI will ever place real humans – it's just another tool to create and execute innovative campaigns."


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